The pleasure of setting up in a new home comes with the pain of moving. If you opt for a do-it-yourself relocation, the tough part arrives when you get to the big, heavy items, including large pieces of furniture and appliances. Wrangling a refrigerator may prove to be the most difficult challenge of all. If you can't bring in professional help, take smart steps to ease your task and make it a safe one.
Empty It Out
Even if you only need to move a refrigerator a short distance, you don't want to try it without emptying it first. Along with the hundreds of pounds the appliance itself weighs, your food and storage containers can add another hundred or more. After you clear out the contents, remove and pack up the drawers and shelves so they won't jar loose in transit and break or damage the interior of the refrigerator.
A Clear Path
Regardless of how far you move your refrigerator, you need a clear path between its current location and its destination. In most cases, the first step takes it from your kitchen to the outside. The best and safest path may not come in the straightest line between the kitchen and the nearest outside door if the refrigerator won't fit through a doorway or hall.
Measure your appliance carefully and compare its dimensions to constricted spots along the way. If the dimensions come too close to a tight fit, look for an alternate route, as the measurements in transit must include moving equipment and helping hands. If all else fails to provide a measurably clear route, consult the refrigerator user guide for directions on how to remove its doors.
Dollies, Straps, Padding, Tape
The back of a refrigerator reveals cooling components that don't take kindly to the appliance's weight resting on them. Set on its side, a refrigerator can drain its compressor oil into cooling lines, which may not clear out when you reorient the appliance in its upright position. If you won't have professional help, enlist at least one other person, rent an appliance dolly, acquire a stack of mover's blankets and buy some gaffer's tape. Tape the doors shut to keep them from opening inadvertently.
To protect the appliance's exterior finish, wrap it in the blankets and tape them on. Make sure you understand how to use the dolly before you try to position the refrigerator on it. Its straps tighten around the girth of the appliance to hold it on the dolly platform. Don't try this maneuver by yourself, especially if you must navigate steps or stairs.
Your refrigerator may include adjustable legs you can use to level it after you place it in its operating location. The manufacturer of your appliance may recommend that you retract these legs before you try to move the refrigerator, preventing them from digging in to flooring and damaging it. Likewise, protect the integrity and safety of the refrigerator power cord. If you accidentally run over it with the appliance itself or the wheels of an appliance dolly, you can cut the insulation and compress the cord inside, damaging it and making it unsafe to use. Loop it up into a neat bundle and tape the coiled cord to a surface of the refrigerator that won't lie up against the dolly.
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